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Reeva Steenkamp's cousin testifies

Kim Martin broke down while telling the court how she heard the news that her cousin was shot dead.

Reeva Steenkamp. Picture: Carte Blanche.

PRETORIA - Reeva Steenkamp's cousin Kim Martin has told the High Court in Pretoria of her relationship and experiences with the model from when they grew up together in Port Elizabeth.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel called Martin as his first witness in the Oscar Pistorius trial in his argument in aggravation of sentence.

Video: 'Prison will break Pistorius'.

The blade runner was found guilty of culpable homicide for the Valentine's Day shooting of Steenkamp last year.

Martin told the court that Steenkamp's parents had struggled financially and Reeva had decided to model to bring in extra income.

Martin says Steenkamp was always a very hard worker.

"She was a hard worker and very meticulous and she got that from her parents."

Martin then broke down while telling the court how she heard the news that the model had been shot dead.

Martin says she tried to phone Steenkamp after hearing on the radio that Pistorius had shot his girlfriend.

She then reached her mother's home.

"I remember phoning and hoping it wasn't her and she confirmed that it was her."

Martin added that her cousin had previously been in an emotionally abusive relationship.

NEL SLAMS PROBATION OFFICER

Earlier Nel concluded cross-examining probation officer, Annette Verger, by slamming her as biased and accusing her of compiling a report devoid of facts.

Pistorius's defence team has finished presenting evidence to support their argument that he should receive a minimum sentence.

Video: 'Pistorius a broken man'.

The state prosecutor says Vergeer made sweeping statements about the prison system without knowing all the facts.

She told the court that the double amputee should be sentenced to house arrest because correctional facilities don't cater for disabled people.

But she conceded that she was unaware of the Pretoria Central Prison's health care facility, which does in fact have the infrastructure to accommodate Pistorius.

She further admitted to being unfamiliar with correctional services policies and legislation related to disabled people, which ensures the protection of their rights and needs.

Nel added that correctional services convinced a British court to extradite honeymoon murder-accused Shrien Dewani on the basis of the standards and conditions of South Africa prisons.

Click here for more on Oscar Pistorius.

Follow the court proceedings live on EWN's Oscar Pistorius trial blog.

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